News / Health

Needle-Nose Parasite Inspires New Surgical Bandage

Doctors perform surgery at St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, Little Rock, Ark., undated file photo.Doctors perform surgery at St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, Little Rock, Ark., undated file photo.
x
Doctors perform surgery at St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, Little Rock, Ark., undated file photo.
Doctors perform surgery at St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, Little Rock, Ark., undated file photo.
Jessica Berman
A fish parasite with a needle-like nose that pierces the intestines of its host has inspired a revolutionary medical invention that could replace surgical staples now used to hold skin grafts in place and close serious wounds.
 
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, led by biomedical engineer Jeffrey Karp, say they saw a need for an improved medical adhesive and looked to nature for ideas.
 
“When we started looking into the parasite literature, we quickly stumbled upon worms and, in particular, this spiny-headed worm that has a needle-like proboscis [nose] that inserts in the intestine of fish ... and only the needles swell, so it kind of mechanically locks into place," said Karp, describing a freshwater-fish parasite called Pomphorhynchus laevis, whose swelling and locking needle-nose design gave his team a model for the new and improved surgical bandage with unique adhesive properties.
 
Karp's prototype, a microneedle-lined bandage that plumps up when exposed to water, locks painlessly into the patient's subdermal tissue and adheres 3-and-a-half times more strongly than any clinical bandage now in use.
 
The elongated microneedle tips, made with a rigid plastic core, attach to stiff plastic inner and outer layers of highly absorbent material that is similar to the inside of a disposable diaper. When wet, the needles form a mechanical bond with the tissue.

 
The microneedle patch is also designed to eliminate two specific problems with surgery involving skin-grafts.
 
According to Karp, who consulted with Dr. Bo Pomahac, head of face transplant surgery at Brigham and Women’s, when conventional staples hold skin grafts in place, they can produce holes 2-to-3 times larger than the width of the staple itself, allowing for potentially harmful bacterial infections. The grafts, Karp says, are also susceptible to filling with accumulated fluids, which can prevent healing.
 
“Instead of using staples," Karp said, "we would apply a microneedle patch directly on top of the skin graft that will push down to the underlying tissue and essentially lock that graft in place."
 
Karp also envisions impregnating microneedle patches with antibiotics and other drugs that would infuse slowly into wounds, helping to keep them clean and quick-healing. Researchers are attempting to develop a microneedle patch that can be used to help seal, and heal, internal organs following surgery.
 
When it comes to removing the bandage, Karp doesn’t think it would hurt more than pulling out surgical staples, which penetrate skin more deeply than the microneedles on the new bandage patch.
 
The work by Karp and colleagues was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. An article describing a new micro-needle surgical bandage is published in Nature Communications.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid